Frederick Douglass and the Philosophy of Religion: An Interpretation of Narrative, Art, and the Political addresses Douglass’s narrative method and the reformed epistemology of analytic theism within the context of Incarnational theology. Timothy J. Golden argues that in this context, Douglass’s use of narrative maintains a robust moral, social, and political engagement—and thus a closer connection to an authentic Christian theology—in a way that analytic theism does not. To show this contrast, Golden presents existential and phenomenological interpretations of Douglass, reading him alongside Kierkegaard, Kafka, and Levinas. Golden concludes the book with reflection on how Douglass’s Incarnational theology connects to his future philosophical and theological work, which understands consciousness (subjectivity) as saturated in time understood as history. Golden argues that the resulting view of consciousness helps to overcome abstraction in a variety of philosophical subfields, including jurisprudence and gender studies.
Timothy J. Golden is professor of philosophy at Walla Walla University.
Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction: The Dawn: A New Day for a New Song
1 The Word Made Flesh: Narrative and the Jurisdiction of History
2 The Truth in Fiction: Narrative, Art, and Subjectivity
3 Overcoming Theodicy: Narrative, Poetry, and the Phenomenology of Suffering
4 A Demand for Universality: Narrative, Art, and the Politics of Moral Suasion
5 An Ethical Metaphysics of the Flesh: Narrative, Theology and Justice
Epilogue: Toward a Philosophical Theology of History: Narrative and Resurrection
"Timothy Golden is not afraid to poke the bear. In this passionately argued book, he takes the field of philosophy to task for ignoring the insights of Black thought and experience. With expansive learning and clear exposition, Golden demonstrates how Frederick Douglass is an essential conversation partner for—and critic of—canonical works in philosophy of religion, ranging from Kant to Kierkegaard to Levinas."
"Frederick Douglass and the Philosophy of Religion: An Interpretation of Narrative, Art, and Politics is a careful and insightful reading of Frederick Douglass. Drawing on the works of writers such as Kant, Levinas, and Kierkegaard, Professor Golden addresses the problem of morality and religious beliefs. The goal is to put these thinkers in conversation with Frederick Douglass. Mission accomplished. A provocative and thought-provoking read."
"In this book, Golden offers a critique of contemporary philosophy of religion for its failure to see Black people and hear their moral questions and concerns. In place of rational theodicies and other abstract theological accounts that tend to sidestep questions of moral responsibility, Golden presents an aesthetic-phenomenological reading of Frederick Douglass that makes clear the value of listening to and learning from a Black theological and philosophical voice whose narrative account and songs of lament, hope, and joy motivate faith."
Golden is African American, and in this volume he applies his expertise in Protestant theology to contrast "analytic theism" (as he views it) with Douglass's thought on morality and Christianity. This is not a survey or exegesis. Golden selects a few key passages from Douglas's work that highlight his profound challenge to mainstream philosophy of religion. A rewarding work in Christian theology and philosophy of race. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.